Relationship of social support and social burden to repeated breast cancer screening in the women's health initiative

Health Psychol. 2004 Nov;23(6):582-94. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.23.6.582.


Direct and interactive effects of social support, social burden (caregiving, negative life events, and social strain), education, and income on repeated use of breast cancer screening among a large (N=55,278), national sample of postmenopausal women participating in the Women's Health Initiative observational study were examined. Repeated screening decreased as emotional/informational support and positive social interactions decreased (ps<.01). Repeated mammography decreased with frequent caregiving (p<.01). Less social strain reduced the frequency of repeated breast self-examinations (BSEs; ps<.01), but frequent caregiving and more negative life events increased repeated use of BSE (ps<.01). Interactive effects suggested that emotional/informational but not tangible support is associated with repeated mammography and clinical breast examinations (ps<.01) and may be particularly important among low-income older women, especially those burdened by caregiving.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Self-Examination / psychology
  • Breast Self-Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events*
  • Mammography / psychology*
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Reinforcement, Social
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • United States
  • Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data